MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/10 April) – How suicidal or fatalistic can we become? This trait is rather endemic in us as a people. Pause for a second and take a look at how we take for granted the rules that are meant to ensure our safety, on the street, in buildings and in many other places where accidents are likely to happen.
No wonder that the evening news on television and the tabloids never run out of items that reinforce the viewers’ and readers’ conditioned belief that journalism is mainly about the gory side of life.
On the part of public officials – although this is nothing new – fatalism has gone to the extent of playing with the people’s lives either through commission or omission. A glaring example would be the apparent negligence of Cagayan de Oro City officials that caused hundreds of deaths when floods brought by storm Suendong in December last year hit several households along Cagayan River.
Government response to the dubious power crisis in Mindanao provides yet another proof of suicidal instinct among our leaders. Exploiting the widespread anxiety over predictions that the island will soon experience a more severe power shortage if no solutions are immediately put in place, the government now appears to be keen on fast-tracking the processing of applications for coal-fired power plants.
Since it came the week before the Mindanao Energy Summit, no one may blame environment groups and other sectors opposed to coal-fired power plants that private capital has cooked up the supposed power deficit to justify the adoption of dirty fuel as a long-term solution.
Consider too the eagerness of government to accommodate applications for coal mining, and one may say that it is indeed setting the stage for the entry of more coal-fired power plants.
The fears expressed by Greenpeace and other groups are not just the fruits of paranoia since the concerned officials themselves have never concealed such intent from public knowledge. Recall how the city council of Davao swiftly overturned Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s veto of an ordinance that endorsed de facto a coal-fired power plant project.
The council tried to redeem itself by passing an ordinance that bans mining. It doesn’t want to pollute the city’s lands and rivers. But never mind polluting the air?
And while we’re at it, officials in South Cotabato are entertaining the idea of allowing the construction of a nuclear plant. Yes, South Cotabato, the first province in the country that bans open-pit mining. Like Davao City, the province doesn’t want to pollute its lands and rivers but – finish the sentence.
If Japan, a country which is light years ahead in terms of technology, has failed to prevent the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, what makes Gov. Arthur Pingoy et al think that we can do better?
Sadly, suicide defies all logic and reason. (H. Marcos C. Mordeno writes mainly on the environment, human rights and politics. He can be reached at [email protected])